A few weeks ago I celebrated my two year anniversary with my very lovely Boyfriend. Last year we had an extended weekend in York and got to see all kinds of museums, galleries and fancy restaurants. This year we were initially thinking of going abroad, however with our anniversary being not only on a bank holiday weekend but also in the school holidays, things tend to be a bit pricey. On top of that we are both struggling with cash flow at the moment (that's a nice way of saying we could both do with nice fat pay rises!) so even a weekend's stay-cation was out of the question. In the end we settled on just a day out, and now I have my car we could finally stretch further than the rubbish public transport options passing through my local village. After much searching online we settled on the beautiful town of Matlock and it's premier attraction: The Heights of Abraham.
If I'm being honest, I had never heard of The Heights of Abraham before, which is surprising because not only is it full of history, it is also a spot of natural beauty and has one rather unusual feature that really seems to draw in the crowds. A cable car ride up to it!
Now call me child-like but I was rather excited about the concept of a cable car - it reminds me of trips to Alton Towers when I was a child. I have to say the view from this one was a lot better, it's a stunning view of the surrounding countryside. The charge for going in the cable car might seem a bit steep (pardon the pun) at £14.50 a person, but when you see what that includes when you get to the top it's more than worth it.
Once you arrive at the top of this beautiful cliff there is so much to see and do. The main draw are the caves. There are guided tours of two of the caves that go on throughout the day. Both are interesting, fun and stunningly beautiful. Unfortunately I left the battery for my camera at home so I had to take pictures on my iPhone which really doesn't do them justice. There is so much industrial and social history here and the modern-day lighting shows how simply gorgeous the caves are. Extra kudos to our guides who were both excellent despite unruly children and very busy groups. The caves do have a lot of steps and the floor is often uneven so if for any reason you don't feel up to it there is a film of the tours showing in a near by pavilion.
The long view is a surprisingly excellent exhibition dedicated to the history of the area, including how it was used in the industrial days of old and how it became a popular tourist attraction for the Victorians. There is also a lot of information (and a cute little shop) about the kind of rock and fossils they used to bring up here from the mines. It's also where I found out my Boyfriend used to collect rocks when he was younger, being the ultimate nerd I can't say I was that surprised. Last year on our anniversary I also found out that he also used to be (and secretly still is) a massive steam train nerd after I took him to The National Railway Museum. I wonder if discovering part of his geeky past is going to be somewhat of an aniversary tradition?
Anyway that's not all: there are heritage walks and an amazing stone tower which nearly killed me walking up but it was completely worth it for the incredible view. Matlock is such a stunning place and being able to see it from such heights really feels like a privilege. There is also a lovely looking restaurant here that does afternoon tea (amongst other things) but we had brought a picnic so we could enjoy the view (and save a few more pennies). If you have children there are some pretty nice play areas around, but it isn't so kid-friendly that we felt uncomfortable being there childless (do you ever get that feeling?).
We had planned on staying and having a walk round before finding somewhere local to eat but unfortunately just as we were taking the cable car back down the heavens really opened, so we made a mad dash for the car and headed straight home.
If you are looking at somewhere off the usual beaten track to go on an adventure, why not check out Think Money's UK Travel Guide-By Bloggers! It's aimed at finding hidden budget friendly places to check out in the UK.
Some of the expenses from this trip were kindly given to me by Think Money